Today is my birthday so I thought I’d write down some thoughts about my life and photography. There’s been a lot of change in my life since my last birthday but it’s surely been for the better. I went from working full time in a toxic environment to doing what I’m passionate about and I can truly say that I’m quite happy. There’s things I still need to work on and sure I can worry about money and what comes next but I think that right now if I just follow the path that’s been put before me I’ll be okay.
Since I was laid off last November I’ve been presented time to detox my energy and time to think (and not think at times) about my life, what’s important and what the next chapter is. I guess it’s still in brainstorming phase but things are moving along nonetheless. Spending time with family and friends is always uplifting and warming. I’ve excitedly traveled to Tokyo, which is such a wonderful city, and met new friends and fellow photographers. Shooting there for the first time was a bit of a shock just based on the fact that it was so new to me so I do plan on getting back out there again. I’ve learned so much from so many people that were so kind and generous with their knowledge and encouragement. I’ve been able to shoot in more professional settings and from that I’ve learned and gained more experience towards my goals. I’ve been able to shoot the streets so much more often and really work on my craft. I’ve also just taught a workshop and that experience was so rewarding. Life is so different right now that I’m just soaking it all in.
There are things that I’ve learned and relearned about life and in photography. I’ve taken things a bit seriously so I’m learning to do the opposite. I’m learning how to be happy too. Weird that I have to learn that but I don’t think most people really know how to be happy. A 99 year old Chinese man told me, after I asked him what his secret was in his longevity, he said “Be happy” with a big smile on his face and throwing his hands up in the air. At the time I thought I sort of new what he was really talking about but it wasn’t until recently that I got more of a glimpse of what he was talking about. Anyway, I’m learning more about myself these days and doing street photography really helps me with this process.
It’s deciding to get up and go somewhere that starts it off. The entire thing is a meditation for me. I wake up and try to have something positive in mind. I’ll go through some photos to get some inspiration or ideas of something to work on or something I haven’t tried before. Some days I have something in mind to focus on and others I don’t and just walk and shoot what I like and get in the zone. Once I’m out I’m staying positive and keeping my eyes open for potential shots. Once I’m in the zone my eyes are wandering in front, sides, and behind. I’ve just recently been listening to music a lot more while I’m out by myself and I think I like it. Some jazz or blues in my ear putting some rhythm to my step and a soundtrack to what I’m seeing. When I get home I’ll go through them briefly while I’m downloading and then not see them again for a while. As much as I love shooting I also enjoy editing and processing my photos. It’s a totally different skill to work on and a slightly different frame of mind I have to be in. It’s all part of the whole experience all the way up to being able to share my photos. It’s my zen.
Well, on this birthday I can say that I’m grateful for so many things. I’m most grateful for the love from my family and friends, grateful for being alive, grateful for the new experiences, and I’m grateful for photography because it helped to make those things really important to me again.